UW Medicine opens in Ballard with multi-services facility

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UW Medicine will open a new multi-specialty location Monday, Feb. 2, on Leary Way in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Situated next to the Ballard Bridge, the facility will offer primary care, sports medicine and physical therapy, and later in 2015, urgent care.

Learn more at: UW Medicine opens in Ballard with multi-services facility | UW HSNewsBeat.

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White House to propose $215 million ‘precision medicine’ initiative

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The Obama Administration today unveiled details of the president’s  Precision Medicine Initiative. Obama will be asking for Congress for $215 million to fund the initiative in his 2016 budget.

From the announcement

Most medical treatments have been designed for the “average patient.” As a result of this “one-size-fits-all-approach,” treatments can be very successful for some patients but not for others.  This is changing with the emergence of precision medicine, an innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.

Below, Jo Handelsman, associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, explains the Precision Medicine Initiative and its significance.

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Seven reasons why getting healthcare in the US is deadly – Vox

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Medical errors kill more people than car crashes or new disease outbreaks. They kill more people annually than breast cancer, AIDS, plane crashes, or drug overdoses. Depending which estimate you use, medical errors are either the 3rd or 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Those left dead as a result of their medical care could fill an average-sized Major League Baseball stadium — sometimes twice over.

To learn more go to Vox.com

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UW to legislators: WSU can have med school – without $5.9M set aside for UW – Spokesman.com – Jan. 28, 2015

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wsuIf Washington State University wants to start its own medical school, it should do so without using $5.9 million set aside to expand University of Washington’s Spokane medical program, UW officials told legislators on Tuesday.

via UW to legislators: WSU can have med school – without $5.9M set aside for UW – Spokesman.com – Jan. 28, 2015.

 

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Some seeking insurance told they didn’t qualify, others balked at cost, poll finds

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By Jordan Rau
KHN

Nearly half of Americans lacking health insurance during the first year of the health law’s marketplaces appeared to be eligible for government assistance, but two-thirds of them said they found the health plans too expensive or were told they didn’t qualify, according to a survey released Thursday.

“Lack of awareness of new coverage options and financial assistance appear to be a major barrier.”

Far fewer cited reasons often mentioned in political circles: a philosophical opposition to the 2010 health law or sign-up difficulties cause by the early technical problems experienced by the government’s healthcare.gov enrollment website, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 10,502 non-elderly adults. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

“Lack of awareness of new coverage options and financial assistance appear to be a major barrier,” the report said.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.41.07 AM

About 30 million Americans lack health insurance. Some of them are not eligible for financial assistance, either because they are not in the country legally or because their incomes are too high. Others live in a state that has not opted for a health law provision to expand Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor, to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $32,913 for a family of four.

Those people in the so-called “coverage gap” —about 4 million — don’t qualify for their states’ existing Medicaid program and don’t earn enough to qualify for the other financial assistance created in the 2010 health law. (As of this week, 22 states have not expanded their programs.)

The survey found that nearly six out of 10 uninsured people who appeared eligible for coverage through the health law did not attempt to get it last year. Cost was the main reason cited by more than half the people who seemed eligible for coverage but who remained uninsured. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – January 29, 2015

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Global health news – January 29, 2015

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If Supreme Court rules against insurance subsidies, most want them restored

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U.S. Supreme CourtBy Julie Rovner
KHN

A new poll finds that most people think Congress or states should act to restore health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court decides later this year they are not permitted in states where the federal government is running the marketplace.

The court in March is set to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit arguing that the wording of the Affordable Care Act means that financial assistance with premiums is available only in the 13 states that created and are running their own online insurance exchanges.

If the court were to invalidate subsidies in the federally run states, 64 % said Congress should restore them, and 59% said states should create their own exchanges.

If the court sides with those challenging the law, millions of people in the 37 states that use the federal Healthcare.gov site would lose the help they have been getting. A decision in the case is expected in late June.

Less than half the respondents in the monthly tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they had heard about the case. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent project of the foundation.)

But if the court were to invalidate subsidies in the federally run states, 64 percent said Congress should restore them, and 59 percent said states should create their own exchanges. Continue reading

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More states lean toward Medicaid expansion

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Indiana state flagBy Christine Vestal
Stateline

The federal government yesterday approved Indiana’s plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, increasing the number of expansion states to 28, plus the District of Columbia.

With enrollment starting Feb. 1, Indiana’s plan could add an estimated 350,000 low-income adults to the nearly 5 million expected to enroll in the 27 states that expanded Medicaid last year.

In accepting Indiana’s plan, the Obama administration demonstrated its determination to increase the number of expansion states, even if it means waiving traditional Medicaid rules.

For example, under Indiana’s plan, people with incomes above the federal poverty level ($11,670 for an individual) must contribute to a health savings account or be locked out of coverage for six months.

The penalty for not paying into a health savings account, which has never before been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reflects an important GOP health care tenet: People who receive Medicaid benefits should take personal responsibility for their care. Republican Gov. Mike Pence called his plan “the first-ever consumer-driven health care plan for a low-income population.”

FamiliesUSA

FamiliesUSA

Judith Solomon, health policy director at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income people, noted that Indiana’s plan is derived from a successful demonstration project that has been in effect since 2007, so its green light doesn’t necessarily apply to other states.

Under the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government pays the full price for covering newly eligible adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,105) through 2016 and then gradually lowers its share to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. Continue reading

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Global health news – January 28, 2015

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Many African-Americans fall into a health ‘coverage gap’

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By Teresa Wiltz
Stateline

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of people of color who do not have health insurance is projected to fall dramatically by 2016, greatly narrowing the historic disparities in coverage between whites and nonwhites.

Many low-income African-Americans are caught in a “coverage gap”: They make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized insurance an exchanges.

But one minority group is likely to benefit less than others: African-Americans.

Fifty-five percent of all African-Americans reside in the 23 states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. By comparison, 42 percent of whites, 38 percent of Latinos and 23 percent of Asians live in nonexpansion states, according to the Urban Institute.

In those nonexpansion states, a disproportionate number of blacks don’t qualify for the narrower Medicaid program in place now. Medicaid typically covers pregnant women, young children, and disabled and elderly adults.

Relatively few able-bodied adults with children qualify in those states, and only at incomes well below the federal poverty level. (Childless adults do not qualify.)

FamiliesUSA

FamiliesUSA

Continue reading

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Obamacare cost to be 20% less than forecast, budget office says – LA Times

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Twenty-dollar bill in a pill bottlePresident Obama’s healthcare law will cost about 20% less over the next decade than originally projected, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday, in part because lower-than-expected healthcare inflation has led to smaller premiums.

So far, the number of uninsured Americans has dropped by about 12 million. By the end of 2016, 24 million fewer Americans will lack insurance, the nonpartisan budget office forecast.

Excluding immigrants in the country illegally, who are not eligible for coverage under the law, only about 8% of Americans under age 65 will lack insurance by the time Obama leaves office, the budget office’s latest report on the law estimates.

via Obamacare cost to be 20% less than forecast, budget office says – LA Times.

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Health news headlines – January 27, 2015

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Global health news – January 27, 2015

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